Links 4/15/2024

Scientists Uncover Surprising Behavior of the World’s Most Elusive Whales SciTech Daily

Why do some people always get lost? Ars Technica

The Space Force Is About to Play Space Wars in Earth Orbit Gizmodo

Scientists Invented a Bizarre New Material That Gets Tougher When You Hit It Science Alert

The tepid twenties Michael Robert’s Blog


Record Surge in Global Coal Capacity Led by China OilPrice


Mexico City’s metro system is sinking fast. Yours could be next. Grist


‘Nobody saw this coming’; California dairies scramble to guard herds against bird flu LA Times

FDACS Emergency Rule to Protect Fla. Livestock from HPAI Morning AgClips


Virginia Tech researchers developing portable COVID tests DC News Now. A test to detect if there’s COVID-19 in the air.


This delivery app takes away health insurance when workers don’t meet quotas Rest of World

How Some of India’s Most Active Citizens Became Quiet, Docile Subjects The Wire

The Great Disconnect Open


Philippines Tells US It Will Assert South China Sea Rights gCaptain

Another standoff in the South China Sea GZERO

Unrealistic for Philippines to encourage Chinese investment while provoke [sic] China, hype China threat with US, Japan: experts Global Times


China Heads Down Japan’s Troubled Macro-Policy Path Bloomberg

‘China Shock’ Fears Should Have Washington Looking In The Mirror Forbes

Chunlan, Sanfer, Other Home Appliance Makers Soar as China Says It Will Subsidize Trade-Ins Yicai Global

China’s world-leading patent applications being sped up, scrutinised to boost key industries South China Morning Post



Israel missile defense chief: Our ‘Star Wars’ defense program was worth it Jerusalem Post. Commentary (1):



Iran Breaches Anglo-Zionist Defenses in Historic Attack: A Breakdown Simplicius the Thinker


Biden Seeks to Head Off Escalation After Israel’s Successful Defense New York Times

Seeking Middle East ‘quiet’, Biden fuels regional carnage Aaron Mate

Biden Sends U.S. Forces To Protect Israel’s Borders for the First Time Ever Reason

Gallant: Attack creates opportunity for anti-Iran alliance Jewish News Syndicate

Should Israel launch an immediate retaliatory attack on Iran? Lawmakers are divided Times of Israel

How Israel, with US backing, should respond to Iran’s attack John Bolton, Washington Examiner

Iran Refuses to Bow — Can it Afford to Stand? Consortium News

Russia raises stakes with moves along Israel’s borders Ynet


UN Says No Improvement in Aid Access in Northern Gaza Antiwar

Netanyahu decides to postpone military offensive in Rafah: Public broadcaster Anadolu Agency



Chartbook 275: After the Iran-Israel escalation, where does the global economy go next? Adam Tooze

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine War Enters New Phase With Oil In The Crosshairs Bloomberg

Is the West hopelessly overwhelmed by “Satanism” as Russian media suggest? Gilbert Doctorow


Is a peaceful accommodation between BRICS and the West possible? Alastair Crooke

Delusions of the West Open

Naval And Military Rearmament To Face New Threats Could Cost $10 Trillion gCaptain

O Canada

Expert Warned ‘Victims Of Communism’ Monument Could Honour Nazis: 2021 Report The Maple


Michael Cohen is an admitted liar. He’s still going to be the star witness against Trump. POLITICO

Realignment and Legitimacy

Scoop: Teamsters make another move toward GOP Axios

Woke Watch

The Observer view on the Cass review: children were catastrophically failed by the medical profession The Guardian


AI spam is winning the battle against search engine quality The Register

California is Losing Tech Jobs Apricitas Economics

Miracle in Solano: California Forever unites Democrats and Republicans Parallel Mirror

Schools Were Just Supposed To Block Porn. Instead They Sabotaged Homework and Censored Suicide Prevention Sites The Markup

Groves of Academe

Charities Are Paying Student Journalists For ‘Pro-Israel Content’ The Maple

Opinion: My students don’t want to be on strike; they want respect Montreal Gazette

Supply Chain

Boosting Titanium Production Amid Heightened Reliance On Russia, China Supply The Deep Dive

Minor miners, where’ll we find’er? The Narwhal

The Bezzle

The Legal System Is Closing in on Crypto, and Things May Only Get Worse LA Times

Class Warfare

Cool Gray City of Tech Authoritarians: Balaji’s dark vision for San Francisco Parallel Mirror

Separation of Powers by Contract: How Collective Bargaining Reshapes Presidential Power NYU Law Review

Two Years In, These “Progressive” Companies Still Haven’t Negotiated First Union Contracts In These Times

America’s Last Violent Strike Has Been Wrongly Forgotten Jacobin

Antidote du jour (via):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Monday Monday  by The Mamas and Papas)

    Fundie Fundie
    Public stoning
    Ain’t a thing that we wanna see

    Christians are warning
    That they aim to rule us Biblically
    They plan to conquer the whole world through piety

    Fundie Fundie
    The End of Days
    Fundie Fundie
    Gathering stones for all the gays

    Fundies are yearnin’
    To be out there burnin’ A.S.A.P.
    Oh Fundie Fundie
    Your world’s a frenzied fantasy

    Any other way (any other way)
    Any other way
    Any other way but JC is a crime, yeah
    Bibles and their sacred guns (and their sacred guns)
    Bibles and their sacred guns
    And they speak in tongues all of the time

    Fundie Fundie
    Sunday mornin’
    Tellin’ Jesus of your loyalty

    Your Sunday mornin’
    Sunday mornin’s not reality
    Our Constitution doesn’t trust such things, you see

    Any other way (any other way)
    Any other way
    Any other way but JC is a crime, yeah
    Bibles and their sacred guns (and their sacred guns)
    Bibles and their sacred guns
    And they speak in tongues all of the time

    Fundie Fundie
    Stay home to pray
    Fundie Fundie
    Please go away

    Whoa, Fundie Fundie
    Please go away
    Fundie Fundie
    Stay home to pray
    Oh Fundie Fundie
    Oh Fundie Fundie

    1. Eclair

      There is no ‘Antifa!’ The name is a front for a large cadre of insanely talented lyricists, who send the selected song of the day to Yves every morning. One person cannot be responsible for all this output. I mean, we know Shakespeare didn’t /couldn’t write all those plays, right? :-)

  2. Stephen V

    Scientists Invented a Bizarre New Material That Gets Tougher When You Hit It

    I mean haven’t these peeps ever made pie crust? Sheesh.

    1. t

      Cornstarch was their model. Because of Silly Putty, maybe?

      Baking was my first thought, too. Here’s hoping they have friends who pointed this out. With hooting.

      But their trying for a hard solid eith the same qualities so perhaps more of a trick.

      As a finished product, my pie crust is extremely flakes and not what you want for a prosthetic foot!

    2. NotThePilot

      When I first saw the headline, I was a bit underwhelmed too. “Work hardening” metal has been a thing as long as there have been blacksmiths. But this is a polymer… that you can take a hammer and an anvil to, which is pretty cool and definitely not how polymers typically work.

  3. Benny Profane

    So Genocide Joe could be the new Lock Her Up. Doesn’t look good for Genocide Joe, but we’ll just turn it over to Genocide Don. Maybe I should just stop watching the news and go live in a tree and learn to play the flute. It’s all so depressing, especially after reading the Michael Hudson interview.

    1. griffen

      I took a respite yesterday and watched the annual proceedings of pro golf at Augusta National. Watching otherwise top tier professional golfers make a butchery of their chances on the Sunday closing nine makes me appreciate the superior skills and commitment to even reach that level.

      No Cinderella story this year at the Masters tournament…alas for greenskeeper Carl Spackler, but next year means there will be another chance!

      1. Benny Profane

        Jim Nantz and that muzak soundtrack always makes me want to nap.

        I never realized how good those guys were until I attempted to learn the game, and went to a PGA event. And they work so hard at it.

        1. griffen

          Jim Nantz is just like the winning golfer, Scott Scheffler, hails from Texas ( I don’t recall if Scheffler was actually born there but he was raised primarily in the Dallas area ). Texas has generated a tremendous lineage of important pro golf players.

          If recall is worth anything Nantz was at Houston when Fred Couples was playing collegiate golf. I have a worthy biography on Ft Worth based Ben Hogan, talk about a climb up the ladder for Hogan.

      2. Wukchumni

        I passed a long since closed down golf course that showcased my really short game, this being where I was awarded my MPGA card, when saving par on the windmill hole.

        1. britzklieg

          heh… as a kid I was a genuine Putt-Putt champion and actually won several regional tourneys. That windmill hole… and that tiny aperture on #18!

          Are there any real Putt-Putt courses remaining?

        2. Randy

          I tried golf once and thought it was totally boring but as I only tried once and was totally unskilled I was predisposed to that opinion. I did save a lot of money by that decision of which I spent more on cigarettes which were more gratifying the deeper I descended into my addiction. Thankfully my addiction to nicotine has ended as of 10 years ago.

          My point: Golf, coffee and nicotine are addictions. None are enjoyable at first experience but they grow on you like a tumor.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Good that you took some time out. Here is an observation based on your comment. The difference between major politicians and top tier professional golfers is that with the later, you cannot buy your way there, cannot get there because your dad happened to be a top tier professional golfer nor can you have someone important use influence set you up as one. You have to get there by your own efforts and perform on each and ever day out on the course. And even then they mess things up from time to time but at last nobody gets killed.

        1. juno mas

          Yes, while as an apparatchik you can wear expensive, tailored clothes and resemble the elite, on the golf course you have perform against the elite.

          I don’t follow golf closely, but Scheffler is said to be the complete golf champion: accurate short and long, with nerves of steel on the green.

      4. britzklieg

        Tiger surprised the first few rounds, but no one was surprised by Sheffler. The boy can play!!!

    2. Sam Adams

      Genocide Joe or Insurection Don. The choice is there. Domestic destruction or international crimes. You pick Petoria!

    3. undercurrent

      Genocide John Fetterman, (zionist, Pa.), wants to warn you and everyone else, that unless you learn to play the tune that the Jews want you to play, Israel has a right to defend itself from anti-semitic harmonies. Genocide John not only stands with israel, he murders with israel. And he’ll wave a tiny blue and white flag in your face to prove it. And a warning, be very careful about what tree you climb up into. Make sure it’s not a tree that the lord promised to his people from the beginning of time.

            1. ambrit

              Watch out. We’re edging closer and closer to GenZcide!
              Alas, I see not a Docent of Decent on the Horizon of Rah Rah Rah.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Are the Jews and the Zionists the same thing? Our bloggers have said they are not. Are our bloggers wrong about that?

        1. Oh

          There is no distinction between the two. But there are some jews that are peace loving and respect other religions. Hard to find ’em. Just all the genocidists Israelis because nobody wants to put a stop to the genocide. I also include the arab nations that just stand and watch, not realizing that soon it will be their turn.

    4. Lena

      I really need to give up the news for my health. My primary doctor has told me to. It’s very hard to do since I’ve always believed that being knowledgeable about world events is extremely important, as is social activism. My mother raised me that way. But it feels so useless these days and I’m so tired. I need to give myself permission to let the world go on without me.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe what you need is more balance in your life. So to counter balance the present s*** show, do some relaxing reading. Or take up a hobby that lets your mind concentrate on what is in front of you. Read up on all that you want in the daytime but at night turn it off, make sure you eat well and get a good night’s sleep. People need balance in their lives.

      2. Joker

        Reading beauty magazines makes one feel ugly. Being knowledgeable about world events makes one feel powerless.

      3. Jason Boxman

        Oddly I find it helps with isolation, given the Pandemic and lack of much participation in the world, but being aware of possible nuclear war and and ongoing Pandemic isn’t really useful. Mixed bag. A former coworker once told me he gets up and watches Family Guy; maybe that’s a better approach to the morning.

      4. Paleobotanist

        Sometimes you are allowed to take a break. Don’t feel bad about it.

        I take jobs up north where there is no internet, no cell phones, no tv and no electricity. Works great. Of course there are fires and blackflies….

        1. mary jensen

          Listening, really listening to music is a terrific use of electricity if you can’t play any instrument yourself. (There’s always the rain and wind if you’ve no electricity). Do not despair for long.

          I’m a sort of ‘Gouldian’; a state of listening looked down on by far too many and unknown by far too many more, Following is an excerpt of a US “Ford Presents: The Creative Performer” aired on January 31st 1960. A legendary program, the recording of which an Italian pianist and I tracked down to a shop in Tokyo, ordered and asked a ‘friendly Gouldian’ professor of literature in Chicago to put up on his yutoob channel which he did. None of us have ever met each other. Bernstein, Gould, Eileen Farrell and last but not least Igor Stravinsky – “brought to you by Ford”:

          The Bach (“afforded” ) by Gould, excerpt of the program:

          The entire program; this is true “take a break” material to relish, to smile, to feel the hairs stand up on your arms, nipples hardening:

          We went all the way to some Tokyo dvd stockyard to get this and to bring it back to the US for you. So when the good things are lean in number, come back here. Cheers.

      5. Kevin DeNardo

        You are not alone.

        There are times when things become so absurd, they are not worth the time/energy to discuss or try to make sense of. Sometimes one is better off focusing inward on your own life, family,and friends. There’s a whole world out there outside of politics and TV news. I’ve taken this approach and have found my stress level has plummeted.

      6. Randy

        Reading the news on alt-news sites can be hazardous to your health. “Truth hurts” as they say.

        1. Joe Renter

          I recommend a meditation practice. Lots of guided meditation on utube.
          Just know that everything is transitory and attempt non attachment. Look at it like an investment in your well being. Work at it.

      7. CA

        “I really need to give up the news for my health…”

        By all means do what is healthy for you, but that can mean paying attention to the news and thinking about how to make it or interpret it or envision it so that is is healthy to you and many, many others.

        Make the news healthy; that is sorely necessary.

    5. Henry Moon Pie

      One thing you didn’t see at the Masters were a lot of azaleas in bloom besides some potted ones. It used to be that they would ice the azaleas to hold them until the tournament, but that’s no longer enough.

      There ain’t no global warming!

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Expert Warned ‘Victims Of Communism’ Monument Could Honour Nazis: 2021 Report”

    Would one of those dodgy names happen to be Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather Michael Chomiak, a noted Nazi collaborator? As they say, the Nazi does not fall far from the ancestral tree. :)

    1. pjay

      These examples always make me think of that phrase of the sixties: “the long march through the institutions.” It was supposed to refer to the infiltration of our dominant capitalist institutions by socialist (or communist) cadres who would work to transform society from within. In reality, it was always much more descriptive of the postwar infiltration by Nazis, neo-Nazis, fascistic “anti-communists,” and various rabidly anti-Russian descendants of the East European diaspora into our major institutions, particularly the National Security Establishment. Though it may be counterintuitive, if not “antisemitic,” to include Zionists in this group, the fact is that the Israel Lobby has been the most successful infiltration of all, and its interests have overlapped with those of the other diaspora at crucial times in history.

      To state the obvious, this “long march” has had a pretty devastating effect.

    2. Anthony Noel

      Well we can thank Trudeau’s complete collapse as a viable political leader from saving us from Prime Minister Freeland as she was clearly being lined up to replace him when he was ready to cash in with the DAVOS set for his years of solid work on their behalf. So his meltdown has had both entertainment value and an actual positive effect.

      1. Jamie

        Vancouver is Awesome News says the cute little stage hog is Baxter and he’s 8 years old. He’s part Havenese, and (ding ding ding) part Poodle.

  5. Wukchumni

    How Israel, with US backing, should respond to Iran’s attack John Bolton

    I am he as you are he as you are me
    And we are all neocons together
    See how they run like Quakers from a gun
    See how they fly
    I’m crying

    Standing on a soap box
    Waiting for the big war to come
    Corporation advert, stupid bloody Tuesday
    Man you’ve been a naughty boy
    You let your war face grow long

    I am the egg it on man
    They are the egg it on men
    I am the walrus mustache
    Goo goo g’joob

    Mister global policeman sitting
    Pretty little global policemen in a row
    See how they fly when Lucy grabs football on the sly, see how they run
    I’m crying, I’m crying
    I’m crying, I’m crying

    Yellow matter uranium cake custard
    Dripping from Colin Powell, aye
    Iraqi warwife, scornographic priest test
    Boy, you’ve been a naughty ploy, you didn’t let your backers down

    I am the egg it on man
    They are the egg it on men
    I am the walrus mustache
    Goo goo g’joob

    Sitting in a sink tank garden
    Waiting for more war to come
    If the war don’t come you gotta fan
    From standing on the sidelines with refrain

    I am the egg it on man (now good sir)
    They are the egg it on men (all rich man, made tame to fortune’s blows)
    I am the walrus mustache
    Goo goo g’joob, goo goo goo g’joob (good pity)

    Expert, textpert choking brokers
    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you (ho ho ho, hee hee hee, hah hah hah)
    See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snide
    I’m crying

    Seminal plasma miasma
    Climbing up the ivory tower
    Elementary penguin singing I have more war wisha
    Man, you should have seen them kicking for more MIC dough

    I am the egg it on man
    They are the egg it on men
    I am the walrus mustache
    Goo goo g’joob, goo goo goo g’joob
    Goo goo g’joob, goo goo goo g’joob, goo
    Joob, joob, jooba
    Jooba, jooba, jooba
    Joob, jooba
    Joob, jooba

    Umpa, umpa, stick it up your jumper (jooba, jooba)
    Umpa, umpa, stick it up your jumper
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)
    Everybody’s got one (stick it up your jumper)
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)
    Everybody’s got one (stick it up your jumper)
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)
    Everybody’s got one (stick it up your jumper)
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)
    Everybody’s got one (stick it up your jumper)
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)
    Everybody’s got one (stick it up your jumper)
    Everybody’s got one (umpa, umpa)

    I am the Walrus, by the Beatles

    1. Bugs

      Ya just gotta give kudos to Bolton for his commitment to the bit. No matter what the crisis, it’s always “I’ll tell you what we need to do and it involves starting WW3, right now”.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Dimitri Lascaris
    According to Israeli media, the cost to Israel’s genocidal regime of intercepting Iran’s projectiles amounted to $1.35 billion.
    Israel’s military budget in 2022 was $23.4 billion.
    Thus, Iran caused Israel to expend nearly 6% of its 2022 military budget in a few hours.’

    I believe that the total cost to the Iranians of their drones and missiles was only about $30 million versus the $1.35 billion that the Israelis spent. And it was 6% of its 2022 Israeli military budget? What percentage of their anti-air missile stocks were used up? That would be a more relevant question.

    1. ilsm

      I don’t think that includes the cost to US/UK to intercept drones and cruise missiles with jet fighters controlled by AWACS/E3 [all KC 135 refueled] over Syria and Jordan.

    2. Mikel

      Israeli military budget includes the USA military budget.
      So I think those numbers don’t tell the entire story.
      Think of how the Biden admin is claiming the US won’t participate in another strike against Iran and at the same time Congress is trying to rush through more aid to Israel.

    3. Feral Finster

      The cost doesn’t matter to Israel. They can simply hand the invoice over to the US.

      The cost doesn’t matter to the US, either. They can simply sell more Treasuries

      1. cfraenkel

        You can hand over the treasuries, but the delivery time for the replacement ammo is 24+ mos. (see UKR experience).

    4. John k

      Cost doesn’t matter, us not gonna run out of $. But imo theyre running out of AD missiles, and our just in time suppliers can’t boost production until some time after they’re needed. Ships already leaving Red Sea because they’re out of missiles, they might not be coming back.
      Meanwhile Iran doesn’t seem to be as likely to run out of their much cheaper drones and missiles, and imo likely have surge capacity. Plus more likely to be available from China if.necessary.
      Ukraine might get money, but may find AD larder as bare as the 155mm shell cubby.
      Very impressive if Iran is producing Mach 6+ hypersonics. Carriers are allergic to those.
      Seems another nail in the gunboat diplomacy coffin.

      1. Glen


        A financialized economy is efficient at generating profit, but it is by design incredible inefficient at making things. It’s designed to maximize profit above all else. This is why all the re-shoring efforts will also completely fail unless the financialization aspect is eliminated.

        1. eg

          This is why I sneer at the GDP supremacists (Fareed Zaharia, I’m looking at you) who equate it with military power. Of what use in bringing molecules and joules to the battlefield are rents?

    5. Lefty Godot

      It also seems that the Iranians basically warned the US exactly what was going to go down, so that the drones and missiles could be intercepted. So this was a demonstration of what could be done, with a best-case outcome for the state attacked. Best case was some (apparently) minor damage to air bases targeted pretty precisely (crater dead center of a runway) and a lot of air defense missiles expended (at the cost you note). It was a slap in the face, not an eye-gouging, kneecap-breaking beatdown.

      The message would seem to be, we can do much worse next time, with no warnings and many more missiles and drones. And you have basically given us a map of where your air defense is located this time, so we will take good advantage of that knowledge next time. Will that message be read correctly in Israel and the US?

      1. cfraenkel

        Not to mention that all they need to do is launch a preliminary drone wave to get shot down, and then send the real wave when all the jets have returned to base to refuel / rearm.

        1. Bsn

          Exactly. And then another wave an hour after that, and then a final wave. After all air power is out of gas, shooting down empty and unarmed (even cheaper) big scary drones, then the real show starts. Don’t send them all at once, just often and constant. Also, I wonder what would happen to a jet engine if it sucked in a $200 drone from the hardware store? Everything is changing way too fast for the collective west. Just like sand under feet at the beach.

  7. timbers

    Scientists Uncover Surprising Behavior of the World’s Most Elusive Whales

    “There are many examples of individuals from the same whale species not behaving the same. In the whale world, it is common to find groups of the same species living in different places, eating different prey, communicating differently, and not liking to mingle with fellow species in other groups.”

    Maybe whales are people in a different form?

    “There are many examples of individuals not behaving the same. In the human world, it is common to find groups of the same groups living in different places, eating different food, communicating differently, and not liking to mingle with people in other groups.”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Should Israel launch an immediate retaliatory attack on Iran? Lawmakers are divided”

    I wonder if the reason why they are divided on this question is because an image during that attack shows a coupla Iranian missiles flying over the Israeli Knesset. If they decide to hit Iran, I could very easily see a coupla Iranian missiles flying into the Israeli Knesset building. It is an isolated building so there would be no fear of unnecessary collateral damage and as it is only about 57 years old, it is hardly a historical one-

    1. Louis Fyne

      allegedly a 3rd target of the strike was a Mossad eavesdropping base in the Golan Heights. GPS coordinates: 33.31674, 35.80628

      Obviously us Normies will never get the real story about this for a while.

      (In Farsi)


      1. NotThePilot

        Agree completely that the full effects are almost definitely being censored, just like in the skirmish between the US in 2020. Ever wonder why Trump, a narcissist whose #1 priority is ego-preservation, had his Pentagon officials destroying documents and made off with singular copies of classified material related to Iran? One wonders what he didn’t want lying around as potential leaks / blackmail from outside the Great US Media Info-Bubble ;-)

        So for now, I’m assuming the truth is somewhere between the maximal claims of the Israelis and the Iranians. As others have pointed out too, this attack delivered a very implication-rich message. But beyond that, even though I’ve seen others mentioning that Jordan directly participating in the interception is sort of a “mask-off” moment, I’ve yet to see anyone consider that Iran intended exactly that.

        Whatever else this was, nobody seems to be considering that the drones (cheap slowpokes with hours of advance notice) weren’t just for soaking up air-defense, but also bait. And the Jordanian government swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Now nobody has any illusions which side it stands on.

        While on one level this is looking to be a war of economic attrition, at another, I still suspect the Resistance Axis grand-strategy is more a political war of position. Their primary goal isn’t necessarily even to whack Israeli society until it cracks directly, but to dissolve all of the supports without which Israel (at least in its current configuration) rapidly collapses.

        That’s the thing about Iranian character and culture I think even really smart analysts keep missing: Iranians swim in inner meanings and oblique implications like fish in water. I remember multiple Iranian acquaintances all telling me that a huge difference with America is that Americans are “simple,” not in a stupid way but in that they either express everything they mean directly or say nothing at all. Iranians OTOH are subtle about everything. It’s not dishonesty: the outer and inner intentions supplement each other, but apparently almost nothing they do or say is just what it seems on the surface.

    2. Mikel

      It should be noted that it is a three-way divide.
      Those who want to take part in a retaliatiory strike, those who don’t, and those who don’t want to strike…until the timing is better – so they’ll say whatever now.

  9. timbers

    Russia raises stakes with moves along Israel’s borders

    “These developments underscore the need for the Israeli government to reassess its strategic relationship with Russia.”

    Is that diplo-speak for “Israel chose the wrong side” between West/East?

    After watching the video w/Michael Hudson, it’s clear the folks running the show have certain predilections that make some forms of rational thought and choices impossible, but still. But it’s likely if Israel choose the East, it might not continue to get the lavish funding for is “Mossad” faction/agenda.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Seems that the Israeli Ambassador to Russia – Simona Halperin – told the Russian media that her country expects ‘our Russian colleagues to condemn the unprecedented Iranian attack on Israeli territory.’ So Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova replied ‘Simona, remind me of when Israel condemned even a single strike by the Kiev regime on Russian regions? You don’t know? Nor do I.’ She also mentioned ‘regular statements in support of Zelensky’s actions on the part of Israeli officials.’

      Maybe it was not wise of the Israelis to burn down their relations with Russia when they did not have to. Inviting an Azov contingent to visit Israel was also spectacularly stupid on Israel’s part. When the war in the Ukraine is over, I would not be surprised to see the Syrian military get a major upgrade of their gear which would include the S-400 anti-air system.

      1. Belle

        I would love to see Russia assisting in the liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, the Goal. heights, and the Shabaa Farms from Israeli Occupation. (Perhaps they could de-Likudify as well?)
        Of course, while it would likely result in American Fundamentalists and Evangelicals having a major shock as to their dispensational views being disproven, it may result in them shifting to the Post-millenial views of North and Rushdoony…which make the Falwell and Bob Jones types look liberal…

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          My memory of North and Rushdoony is that their theory is/was that the Militant Christians have to establish a Thousand Year Rule of Christian Righteousness on earth FIRST, and only if it is thorough and total enough will Christ THEN return to earth in triumph.

          Is my memory correct on that?

    2. edgui

      As such, it seems another reminder of the differences between being an ally and a proxy country, but in another direction. @MyLordBebo insightfully noted the infinitely higher quality and commitment with which the West dealt with the Iranian attack on Israel vs. what has happened in Ukraine.

  10. CA

    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    This is a great article by a Malaysian scholar, detailing how “America’s sick obsession with China will ruin itself and the world” *

    The main point the author makes is common sense, basically arguing that “the US is gripped by a debilitating Sinophobia, a pervasive fear that could result in misdiagnosing problems, with potentially devastating consequences.”

    A great example the author gives is fentanyl, a crisis the US attributes to China (and during their last meeting Xi agreed with Biden to limit the export of fentanyl precursor chemicals) but which, in truth, is fueled by multiple factors “including inadequate regulation and weak oversight leading to over-prescription, pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive marketing strategies and socioeconomic distress”. If you blame China for it, you do misdiagnose the issue, and it won’t get resolved…

    All in all “merely focusing on external threats will not resolve the profound issues vexing America. The origin of these problems is intrinsic to the US and demand internal solutions, necessitating a critical process of self-reflection and self-correction.”

    Same thing on the global stage. The author rightly points out a key paradox: “Why would Beijing [help] mediate for peace in Europe and the Middle East when this would free the US to pivot towards the Asia-Pacific to oppose China?” It makes zero sense.

    Or same thing for climate change. On one hand the U.S. says it’s committed to help resolve the issue but on the other hand you just had Janet Yellen start a new crusade against China’s “overcapacity” in green tech (actually a buzzword for Chinese competitiveness), which can only result in slowing down the roll out of climate change mitigation measures everywhere.

    Last but not least, the whole world sees and understands this, just like this Malaysian scholar does. So in the end this “debilitating Sinophobia” leads to Washington effectively shooting itself in the foot, as the world progressively comes to the conclusion that it is they who unreasonably hinder progress and worsen the global crisis we all suffer.

    * America’s sick obsession with China will ruin itself and the world

    11:29 PM · Apr 14, 2024

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      I see a clever sleight-of-terminology here between “fentanyl crisis” and “drug crisis”. The addictive “drug crisis”, mainly opiates, was made in America by various bad actors and bad processes arising from within
      America and coming together in America. The “fentanyl crisis” was specifically made in China by Chinese companies sending fentanyl precursors to the Mexicartels to make into fentanyl for secretly mixing into various claimed-to-be-non-fentanyl drugs sold to American addicts. The American addicts were not looking for fentanyl by name and did not expect to find it in their drugs of addiction.

      Blaming China for America’s initial addiction crisis is misdiagnosis, but blaming China for cynically introducing its high-profit fentanyl precursors into the mix in order to take commercial advantage of America’s own addiction problem is entirely fair, clever “hansbara” to the contrary notwithstanding.

  11. griffen

    Michael Cohen is now a truth teller and no further risk of perjury. That’s settled just move along. Can we generally agree on principle that a boy crying wolf can be right the one time, yes, but it feels so very convenient to read the New York law apparatus ( Judge Engeron for one ) confident and believing in Cohen.

    Meh, it’s lawfare by any means necessary.

    1. digi_owl

      Or maybe even a show trail. The verdict is already decided, but the system needs to go through to motions to maintain “legitimacy”.

    2. Screwball

      They could make a fortune if this trail was televised. My social media feeds are full of stage 5 TDS sufferers wanting to watch Trump get skewered in court.

      I can’t imagine what it’s like when one of the most important things in your life for the last 7 years is the overwhelming and time consuming job of hating Trump. It is truly amazing to watch these people.

      1. doug

        It is sad for me to watch friends with TDS. I have otherwise intelligent, questioning, friends who respond to most any stimuli with a negative statement about Trump. I blame social media and very tuned feeds.

        1. Screwball

          Me too. He’s living rent free in so many heads. I was in the car a few years ago and someone cut into our lane and I had to slam on the brakes to miss them. One of the passengers said; must be a Trumper.

          For these people the walls have been closing in for so many years, but this time they got him – they are sure THIS time. No surprise to anyone, but hashtag Trump trail is trending on Twitter.

        2. Feral Finster

          Once you understand that humans are first and foremost herd animals with less capacity for independent thought than an ant or sheep, everything will make sense.

          There’s actually a very good reason for this – your fellow humans are the fastest way for you to wind up dead or seriously disadvantaged. At the same time, take away the legal protections that humans expect (and which are really quite flimsy at best), and the tribe, the group, the community are the only ones that will support you when you humans need it.

          Therefore, whatever else happens, whatever they have to do, believe absurdities, blindly follow barking insane leaders, parrot obvious lies to our detriment, do or suffer terrible things, but please whatever you do, please don’t kick me out of the group!

          What this also means is that when humans are presented with incontrovertible proof that the group narrative is wrong or that the group leaders are mad or charlatans or worse, rather than change leaders or change beliefs or change groups, most humans, most of the time will instead double down. Witness the behavior of cultists.

          The process is called “cognitive dissonance” and it is abundantly documented. As alluded to earlier, there are entire religions organized around the principle.

          Cognitive dissonance is not limited to stupid people. In fact, the intelligent are at least as prone, perhaps because they are better at rationalizing. In fact, much so-called “knowledge work” is basically learning symbol manipulation in order to rationalize something.

          1. JBird4049

            >>Cognitive dissonance is not limited to stupid people. In fact, the intelligent are at least as prone, perhaps because they are better at rationalizing. In fact, much so-called “knowledge work” is basically learning symbol manipulation in order to rationalize something.

            To me, it seems that modern “higher” education is slanted towards parroting whatever is the authorities’ approved groupthink de jour instead of learning how to think. That is not to say that indoctrinating the masses especially in grade school was not important, but that there was always some training in reason, logic, and clarity of thought especially in one’s writing. It is needed just to write clearly, which is the absolute minimum of any education. The higher the grade level and the more elite the school, the greater the emphasis, but it was always there.

            In today’s country’s deindustrialized, hyperfinancialized, economy run by the incompetent, scaredy-cat “meritocratic” elites of ours, they do not want an educated people taught even the previous limited forms of clear thinking. Certainly not at the level of a classical liberal arts degree. The stupified, hopefully docile, masses of easily exploited, cheap labor is not needed for any skilled work supposedly. That any job excepting the very, very lowest level of manual labor needs an education seems to not occur to our meritocracy.

      2. griffen

        It is on the television schedule today, of course it is! I just clicked back to the business news on CNBC and the nearby channel options are covering it live.

        These media channels like CNN just can’t help themselves.

          1. eg

            I watch it occasionally for entertainment, but only on down market days in the 3:50pm to 6pm time slot.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      The folly and stupidity (and danger) of it – Trump, the Original Troll/Troll Zero, will likely turn the trial into a spectacle that elevates him and diminishes his pathetic opponents – is literally unfathomable: you can’t reach its depths.

      Then again, starting with Russiagate, the #McResistance has refused to engage in actual democratic politics against Trump; it’s been one vain (in both senses of the word), hysterically sanctimonious, embarrassing legalistic folly after another.

      1. ambrit

        Am I the only one to notice the almost ludicrous correlation between a certain Austrian corporal of WW-1 fame’s attempted putsch and subsequent trial and today’s lawfare against the Orange Haired Demon?
        The Democrat Party had better thank its lucky stars that Trump is not an ‘effective’ putschist. MAGA does not yet have an armed wing of “Action Commandos” to ‘fight the good fight’ in the streets of America.
        The Democrat Party seems to have settled on using “lawfare” to try and ‘defeat’ their recent opponents. The Jan 6 riot was just that, an amorphous, somewhat inorganic mele. Now imagine if some truly dedicated s–t kickers had been involved.
        I’m waiting for the political partys’ conventions. There are so many ways the proceedings can be disrupted…..
        And no, ‘designated’ “Protest Zones,” conveniently placed way off in some quiet spots invisible to the political proceedings will not cut it.

  12. ilsm

    What ever happened to deterrence?

    China cementing reefs!

    Houthis droning on the kingdom of the Saud family

    Russia special military op’ing US tools in Kiev.

    Houthis droning ships in Red Sea.

    IRGC grabbing a container ship in Hormuz

    Iran shooting a few missile landing on the occupied lands.

    Whatever Kim is doing in Pyongyang.

    How could we put US flags on Kuwaiti ships?

    What have we got for all that MICC?

    PS I hate to agree with John Bolton.

    1. ilsm

      gCaptain quotes “the peace dividend is over”…..

      Whoever said that has not tracked MICC largesse since 2003. It has been Reagan splurge in real $$ terms since the GWOT got going!

      US has to get more bang from the MICC trillions.

      % GDP is meaningless.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Reagan proved deficits don’t matter’ – Dick Cheney aka The dark Lord. And now the US is clocking up $1 trillion of debt every 100 days. Heckuva job there, Dick.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Bond yields continue to blast upwards this morning, making a mockery of Chairman Powell (a.k.a. The Manila Folder) and his idiotic pandering to rate cut mongers back in December.

          Compound interest – the eighth wonder of the world.

          1. Wukchumni

            I dunno, tellyawhat though, if I owed a National Debt of $34 large that I knew no way-no how was ever gonna get paid down, i’d inflate till the cows came home, which is a bad metaphor in these times of avian flu, scratch that.

            But anyhow, buggering the currency is an ad hoc jubilee of sorts where all the debtors owe a pittance, and the creditors are paupers on paper.

            A clean slate of things, with 400 million guns to settle discrepancies in accounts.

            1. ChrisFromGA

              It’s probably our future. The best counterargument I have is a lot of those creditors are banks, and banks don’t like getting the Trump treatment (walking away from debt in Ch. 11.)

            2. JBird4049

              One of the reasons why Taxes are Theft™️ and therefore doubleplus ungood is that the debt is bought up by the wealthy. Also the stocks and bonds, which are owned mainly by the wealthy are pumped up by the printing of money.

              A reason why the top ten percent of Americans own eighty percent of the wealth is the lack of taxation. Most of that eighty percent is actually owed by the top less than one percent of the people.

              I am sure it is more complicated than all that, but over fifty trillion dollars of wealth is still in the top ten percent. If the rate of taxation was increased to where it was fifty years ago and the IRS was fully funded and unleashed on “the malefactors of great wealth” much of this debt would go away. Even just using the tax rates of pre 2000 would likely do.

              It is a reality of over a million homeless Americans existing along with the endless wars being paid for by an increasing debt that enriches the already wealthy while making refugees, injuring, or murdering millions. It is a bit angrifyiny.

          1. eg

            That was excellent, thanks.

            Notice that it’s NOT the money that’s the problem — it’s a lack of available joules, molecules or labour …

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Naval And Military Rearmament To Face New Threats Could Cost $10 Trillion”

    ‘The alliance is aiming to put around 300,000 troops at higher readiness, with members able to scale up eight multinational battle groups on its eastern flank, each of currently around 1,000 troops, to reach brigade size of as many as 5,500.’

    Yeah, throw away $10 trillion dollars on a war that will never happen but here is the thing. Right at the very end that article mentioned needing 300,000 troops. Will people volunteer for this level of idiocy? Recruitment rates are falling right around the world and certainly in the US. The younger generation do not want to wreck their future health just so that they can become Imperial Stormtroopers. How many want to sign up to fighting in the Ukraine or the Middle East? They see what is happening and why and are voting with their feet as in exit, stage left.

    1. ilsm

      Military Keynesianism!

      Look at the ROI of Maginot line in 1940!

      Most NATO members have some formations like US’ national guard. The difference is US keeps its units up to deploying at relatively high training levels in short notice. NATO could do this. In the 1980’s one aspect of the Reagan build was to raise training and equipment levels of the US national guard.

      That was expensive, and continues as you must pay to keep the training status high.

      NATO countries would spend a lot of money!

      8 brigades……. not a big “front”!

      1. Louis Fyne

        The idea of patriotism has been so thoroughly destroyed in western Europe, one is not going to be able to recruit warm bodies, barring Ukrainian-style coerced conscription.

        Even 20 years ago, the idea of flying a German flag in front of your own home or business as a statement of national pride (commonplace in the US…even every Home Depot has one) would make neighbors want to put you on “a list.”

    2. yep

      NATO have been talking abut 300,000 ready-to-go troops for a couple of years. They used to lack soldiers needed to make that happen. Now they lack weapons and ammo too.

  14. Joker

    Scientists Uncover Surprising Behavior of the World’s Most Elusive Whales SciTech Daily

    The most surprising thing for me is that those Russians are still allowed to do science in the EU.

  15. Louis Fyne

    Iran Refuses to Bow — Can it Afford to Stand?

    No, hence the very incremental, but resolute, steps from Tehran since October. But the US-NATO has made it a neccesity for RU-China to help Iran.

    Through arrogance, hubris, topped with ray…cism, the US brought together three great powers who see a common threat

    1. NotThePilot

      Though I think the author’s heart and head are in the right place, I was a little disappointed in this article. The comparison of the Iranian Revolution to the Meiji Restoration in Japan is interesting; I’d have to think about that one more.

      But like someone below mentions with the Doctorow article, he seems to be writing from “inside the fish bowl” a bit too much. Or as one of his repliers says:

      Do have to love the American Left …. they are so committed to losing, that they can not even see victory.

      1. He’s massively overestimating the political willpower behind the sporadic protests that break out in Iran. How many times is it now, according to Western media, that a relatively small set of upper-middle-class 20-somethings are successfully overthrowing the government because of a dress-code?

      2. He’s buying into the whole narrative of “Oh no, this was all Netanyahu’s genius plan to get the American military to destroy Iran”. Netanyahu definitely does want to get America involved, but that’s just because he’s cynical, reactive, and short-sighted. The thing that nobody buying into that narrative seems to ask is: “What American military?” The one that’s actively being rolled back on multiple continents, can’t recruit or sustain its equipment, and has crisis levels of mental illness?

      3. He’s not wrong about Khomeinists taking a page from the Bolsheviks and ruthlessly consolidating power during the Revolution. I’m pretty sure only someone still stuck in an American / European frame of secular liberals vs. religious conservatives would consider Khomeini a counter-revolutionary though. The more you dig into the influences leading up to the Islamic Revolution, and the factions that do still exist within Twelver Shi’ism, it’s pretty clear that Khomeini and many of the Qom seminarians in particular, even as they don’t reject tradition, are something radically new.

      1. matt

        i think if america were to get heavily involved with israel, it would be its downfall. like a very crisp narrative end to us dominance. the nail in the coffin. the us military is clearly rotting, and the minute they get fully involved in a war without the excuse of a proxy state to blame failures on, the rot will become apparent to everyone. and if that doesn’t happen as a result of getting involved in israel, well, it’ll happen eventually.

  16. Trees&Trunks

    Doctorow and satanism. I think in Russia they also think about the satanic level of evil among the Western elites making them invade foreign countries at whim, spread chaos and misery all over the place, finance nazis in Ukraine, support genocide of Palestinians, bomb Libya to smithereens, finance terrorists here, there and everywhere, TPP ISDS, stealing natural resources, couping, Gladio networks and everything else.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Doctorow dismisses the whole thing but he was talking from Belgium which is inside the fish bowel. It looks different to other countries such as when the US forces an extreme form of LGBT on them and has their Embassies around the world fly the Rainbow flag. They are certainly not impressed with videos of teachers passing around butt plugs to little kiddies. It may not be actually Satanism but that matters little. The rest of the world look at this and wants no part of it. Here is the late Gonzalo Lira talking about this subject- (11:45 mins)

      1. Lefty Godot

        The elite woke agenda has worked so well at sowing division and unrest in this country, why shouldn’t we be able to export it to Russia and the rest of the world? /s

        1. Snailslime

          If Satan helps limitting unsustainable population growth without massmurder but merely by influencing people to have less children (or possibly turning more of them gay), causes people to become less willing to die for God and country in imperialist wars and thus gradually undermining the ability of US elites to wage constant war on the rest of humanity, undermining the image of the West as a moral examplar that was always built on lies in the eyes of the rest of the world and turning Hollywood movies shitty so they no longer can as effectively brainwash people as they did decades past, if he degrades the ability of western elies to forge their populations into a united front marching in service to a universal elite set agenda, well, then “Satan” perhaps isn’t that bad a guy in the end.

      2. Li

        I’m from Latin America, and at least here, most people interested in economic redistribution tend to be on the tolerant end of the scale re:lgbt+ etc. People in older demographics tend to be more intolerant, but at least in my age cohort and with people up to 30 yo, if you hear them ranting about imperialism or redistribution or foreign interventions, then they are probably pro lgbt, feminists, etc. etc. And even if they aren’t, you probably won’t hear them seriously advocate for banning them. The political polarization in the U.S. where you can know a person’s whole political programme simply by asking them whether are for/against LGBT issues/abortion is not the same over here. Most people structure their politics on the basis of class, not identity. The biggest political party in Mexico, for example, is nominally pro-LGBT and pro-feminism, but that isn’t the most important part. The most important part for people is that they’ve expanded social benefits in unprecedented fashion, giving scholarships to all school-aged children and pensions to every 65+ person and increased the minimum wage 100%. People need to eat. Everything else is secondary, and our politics reflect this.

        Another issue that is politically distinct is feminism, given that most of our local activism is centered on issues of femicides, sexual violence, domestic violence, trafficking, and forced dissappearances. Abortion is a secondary (tho important) issue but it’s not as polarizing as it is in the U.S.. (Our supreme court sidestepped the issue by declaring that ruling on abortion is outside the purview of the state, so abortion is technically legal in the whole territory.)

        What I’m trying to say with this is that the RoW is a politically diverse place. We have theocracies, such as those in the Middle East, we have communists in China, we have republics in Latin America and Africa. We have very liberal places, and very conservative places. Most people are tired of exploitation and parasitical relationships, of toiling endlessly for the benefit of the golden billion, of predatory FMI loans and enforced austerity, and of the coercive international IP regime which is used to stall technological development. LGBT issues are, at most, a sideshow or a propaganda point: they’re not a load-bearing issue. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the issue is revisited in russia in a couple decades time. Prosperity, after all, begets largesse and high-mindedness, and I have no doubt that russian children and adolescents are consuming as much anime and manga as any other young cohort in the world.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>The political polarization in the U.S. where you can know a person’s whole political programme simply by asking them whether are for/against LGBT issues/abortion is not the same over here. Most people structure their politics on the basis of class, not identity. The biggest political party in Mexico, for example, is nominally pro-LGBT and pro-feminism, but that isn’t the most important part

          The increasing levels of poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease even in places such as California is making the righteous rants on LGBTQ especially on transgenderism lose its effectiveness. It might even be backfiring. If the slow collapse of the economy along with much else that is causing so much pain was being noticed by these blind righteous fools, then it would make sense. But if you cannot feed your family, whangst by others on gender issues is insulting.

          Being unable to feed, house, and clothes your children simply overwhelms any other issue. However, since the Democratic Wing of the Uniparty refuses to do anything about this, all they can do is to tell us to believe them, and not our lying eyes, while chanting slogans on Identity
          Politics. Genocide Joe is likely going down.

          As in what was labeled the Third World, the politics of want is overtaking the politics of ideology, and the Democrats refuse to see this.

          1. Li

            Living standards (in the U.S.) were worsening long before “woke” (& “anti-woke”) messaging metastasized in the mainstream media and government initiatives. These social issues are perfect for propaganda for various reasons: the LGBT+ community (and the trans community specially) are an extremely small part of the population. At most (and I feel like I’m exaggerating here), we’re talking of 3-4% of the population. Trans people make up an even smaller percentage. As a political block they have a hard ceiling in terms of members. Taking up these type of issues, whether you are for or against, reliably makes a segment of the population turn off their critical faculties. But the main reason these issues are centered is because it costs very very little to pass legislation that either benefits or affects this population. If you’re a democrat you can announce a “woke” sounding initiative while you ignore crumbling infraestructure and poverty, and get celebrated for it by part of your constituency. If you’re a republican you can “ban” people from saying the word “gay” in classrooms while you ignore crumbling infraestructure and poverty and get celebrated for it by part of your constituency. Centering your whole campaign on things like these allows you to avoid addressing the elephant in the room which is rentier capitalism and imperial overextension (which is the part of the political agenda that is constant regardless of who is in office).

            So long as people continue to let themselves be divided over trivial issues such as these, instead of tackling class disparity, I’m afraid living standards are only going to keep going down.

      3. Albe Vado

        Yes, I’m sure homophobic societies find the message that it’s okay to be that way incredibly offensive.

        I actually agree that the US has completely undermined any global scale move towards acceptance of gay people by attempting to use it as a hammer and overt tool of US influence peddling. Welding, with real justification, in many people’s minds ‘American imperial tool’ with ‘gay rights activist’ has heavily discredited many domestic gay rights movements that may have otherwise achieved more success. Something that I genuinely think will be a negative outcome of the now inevitable collapse of US power will be the throwing in the trash of numerous social values that I believe to be essentially positive developments, as everything American aligned and liberal becomes utterly discredited.

        But that doesn’t make the anti-gay rights impulse not inherently backwards. It is, in fact, okay to be gay, and cultural values that say otherwise are objectively retrograde and worthy of condemnation.

        I don’t pay much attention to Masha Gessen and her complaints about Putin’s Russia, but something I do find credible are her accounts of rampant, hostile homophobia (there are still parts of the US where you might get beaten to death for being gay. That isn’t hyperbole. My impression is that much of Russia is at least as bad, and you don’t have to go out to the rural sticks to find people who would happily kill you). You couldn’t pay me enough to be a gay woman in Russia.

        1. Yves Smith

          Putin asked Gessen not to leave. But that was before the SMO. His attitudes toward things he associates with the West have clearly hardened.

      1. Albe Vado

        Except those aren’t ‘literal’ examples of Satanism. If Satanism means worship of the arch-demonic figure from Christianity, which is what is meant quite literally about 99% of the time people use the phrase Satanism, no, it absolutely isn’t. Depiction of the devil is as old as Christianity. Really, a character playing a demon shows up in a HORROR TV anthology series? Why, it’s almost like that’s part of the horror aspect or something. It’s almost like the forces of hell exist as a bad thing in popular imagination and appear frequently as villains in fiction. Do I really have to point out that depiction doesn’t automatically equal endorsement, or even belief in a thing?

        And deliberately provocative use of demonic iconography to churn up controversy and get publicity in western music goes back to at least the 80s. And the more that clueless people complain, the more it gets done.

        This is further compounded by the fact that self-described ‘Satanists’ do exist in the US. But these groups explicitly reject any belief in the literal existence of the devil. They’re basically contrarian clubs that have adopted a bunch of stuff that makes suburban Christians mad, because it amuses them to make such people mad. If you ever actually talk to a member of the Church of Satan they’ll be completely upfront that they don’t actually believe in the devil (or more to the point, Baphomet, their even more made up goat demon figure), and instead view it as a personification of their philosophical ideals (which usually amount to a vague libertarianism).

        I’m in the strange position of basically siding with the practical fact of Russian opposition to the American Empire, while finding lots of specific Russian cultural values incredibly asinine and retrograde. The apparently widespread Russian impulse to frame a material struggle for geopolitical influence as a spiritual clash of civilizations I find to be downright embarrassing. One of the great Bolshevik legacies was putting the Orthodox Church firmly on the backfoot, and I find it tragic to see it regaining influence.

    2. Snailslime

      Doctorow’s proof of a belgian town not being satanic consists of people being moderately procreation happy and being indifferent to the war.

      I’m not sure that’s as good an argument as he thinks.

      If there is a “Satan” (or any “higher power” that doesn’t have our best interest at heart) out to do us harm and especially influence us to do harm to ourselves, by being fruitful and multiplying and being indifferent to wars, well, we might already be perfectly on our way doing “his” bidding through that alone.

    3. NotThePilot

      Agree, I’m a little surprised too that Doctorow takes the whole Russian “the West is Satanic” meme at face-value. My impression has always been that the Russian government is well-aware that it means different things to different audiences.

      For Western conservatives, it conjures up all sorts of things they’re primed to react to (Moral panic! Pizza-gate! Gay Teletubbies!), and Russia happily uses that to sow more division. A similar dynamic applies to third-parties and other cultures that have uncomplicated feelings about patriarchal values.

      For the Eastern Orthodox cultural sphere though, much of the Islamic world, anti-colonial forces, and Orthodox-ish people even in the West (aka Ortho-Bros / Ortho-Gals, like Big Serge on Substack), it’s different. These are seen more as inside audiences, and for them, “Satanism” is meant to recall Alexander Nevsky, counter-Crusades against a false Western church, and Ivan Karamazov reciting the story of the Grand Inquisitor to Alyosha.

      1. yep

        He is making a strawman, so that he can defeat him in an argument. I guess his target audience is on the satanistic side of the fence, and he has to tell them that they are not the baddies.

    4. .human

      If there is a God, it certainly doesn’t seem to be benevolent. Some have their psyches/sky wizards confused and certainly their ideologiy.

      1. Albe Vado

        The problem of evil is one that no one has ever offered a remotely satisfactory solution to in thousands of years.

        All that is offered is greater or lesser exercises in hermeneutic contortionism to try and explain away a very simple equation: if your God is both all powerful and all loving, why is there death and misery? None of the ‘explanations’ satisfy.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Gallant: Attack creates opportunity for anti-Iran alliance”

    Of course this would work. You would have in it Israel, the US, the UK, France and, errr, well that would be mostly it. Absolutely none of the countries in this region would want any part of it nor would nations in Africa, Asia and South Africa. And what would the countries in this anti-Iran alliance do exactly? Macron has already called for more sanction but Iran is in BRICS now and could care less. Hit them with missiles? Iran has proven that they can shoot back. Maybe those countries could gather around a fire at night and sing Kumbaya or something for all the use they would be.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “How Some of India’s Most Active Citizens Became Quiet, Docile Subjects”

    ‘By overnight redefining democracy to mean “unquestioningly support the ‘elected’ PM, his party and his parivar”, millions of Indians, mostly from the more privileged upper and middle classes, had decimated in one go our painstakingly inculcated civic and democratic values.’

    This article is worth the read. It seems that India is suffering from Modi Derangement Syndrome but here, democracy itself in India is defined around Modi no matter how authoritarian his decisions are. He wants to turn India into a Hindu supremacist country.

    1. Snailslime

      In contrast to many of his opponents who want to turn India into just one more christian supremacist or muslim supremacist country.

      But it’s cool and normal when the Abrahamites do it, of course, and usually works so swell.

      I guess it’s exactly what the world needs the most!!

      1. NotThePilot

        As someone with Abrahamic sympathies (but also a free-thinker), you bring up a fair point. A state religion is not a popular opinion in countries like the US, partly because of long-standing political consensus and partly because our specific brand of would-be theocrats especially suck. That doesn’t mean state religions aren’t a thing though, and even Spinoza (not exactly anyone’s idea of a “true believer”) advocated one, but with tolerance.

        And I think that’s the frustrating and worrying thing with Modi; even if he dials it back at times, his brand of Hindutva seems to be more about squashing minorities than just speaking positively to the majority. As you point out, that never ends well, whether it was under Muslims, Christians, or Jews.

        With Modi, it seems to revolve more around scapegoating, which does give it more of a fascist bent. I mean, like most Central Asian warlords, the Mughals were intolerant d***s under some of the emperors, but they were far from the first significant Islamic influence past the Indus. Nor were they the most recent group to ravage India, which I also find suspicious: that for a hardcore nationalist, Modi AFAICT goes pretty soft on vestiges of Anglo influence. Which makes sense if he’s really just looking for a near and easy enemy, rather than a positive rejuvenation of Indian civilization.

    2. Darthbobber

      It was someone else who ran on a slogan of “India is Indira and Indira is India”. And who also suspended elections and ruled by decree for a few years.

  19. Carolinian

    Simplicius worth a read

    Firstly, one of the common counterarguments is that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, which ultimately trumps anything Iran can throw at them. But in reality, now that Iran has proven the ability to penetrate Israel, Iran too can cause nuclear devastation by striking the Israeli Dimona nuclear power plant. Destroyed nuclear plants would produce far more radioactive chaos than the relatively ‘clean’ modern nuclear weapons. Furthermore, Israel is much smaller than the comparatively gigantic Iran. Iran can take many nuclear hits and survive; but a single mass nuclear event in Israel could irradiate the entire country, making it uninhabitable.

    Or make that read it and weep. Perhaps, if accounts are to be believed, Biden has finally gotten Netanyahu to stand down–with help from ballistic missiles.

    1. edgui

      “Simplicius worth a read”

      Absolutely. Between that and other conclusions, Simplicius breakdown is by all accounts wonderful. What is not clear to me was the use of hypersonic missiles, was it confirmed or not? If the answer is no, perhaps it is even more revealing of Israel’s vulnerabilities.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It depends on your definition of hypersonic missile. Iran doesn’t have hypersonic cruise missiles, but it has for year had hypersonic re-entry warheads.

        And based on the videos both experts and “experts” seem to agree that indeed some of the warheads traveled pretty darn fast – and some even did a little maneuvering during the final approach.

        I’m not saying it’s easy to make multi-stage ballistic missiles, but it’s easier to make them hypersonic than it is to make hypersonic cruise missiles with airbreathing engines due to the complications of the said air rushing past at mach 5 or faster. Odd things start to happen, really fast, and they are hard to control.

      2. Bsn

        Only an armchair expert here but the few videos I’ve seen, wherein Iran hit Israel’s air base, the missiles came in on an angle. My impression is that hypersonics come straight down. Another reason they are hard to hit.

        1. Captain Obvious

          All ballistic missiles come from high above (starting from grandpa V-2). They all bleed speed as they enter denser atmosphere layers. There isn’t a clear cut between high-supersonic and low-hypersonic ballistics missiles.

          Hypersonic missiles can also be scramjet-powered cruise missiles, if you are Russian.

    2. alfred venison

      did anyone else notice how very well written the lastest piece by Simplicius is, compared to the standard usually exhibited in other essays at that site? No bumps grammatical, uncommonly near-perfect idiomatic English writing. On a par with Lambert Strether, I dare say. I counted but one (1) error, an error of omission, a word left off. Can’t find it now. I had doubts before, but I’ve now come around to the view Simplicius is a collective. And, yes, this one is well worth a read, exemplary expository prose, timely, informative, and a pleasure to read. -a.v.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > near-perfect idiomatic English writing. On a par with Lambert Strether, I dare say

        [lambert blushes modestly]

        The linking is still awful, though. Begins with a seemingly official statement from Iran. But no link! How hard is this?

      2. yep

        I haven’t read the latest one, but I did almost all the others. I do find annoying him trying too hard with fancy words. Still, he can take a suggestion and improve over time (e.g. he did eventually learn how to use “exponentially” properly :)). I never considered him to be a collective, and will come back to comment here if I change my mind after reading the latest piece.

  20. ChrisFromGA

    A couple of news stories that got buried in the Iran missile attack and subsequent “will he/won’t he?” escalatory ladder:

    + Hamas rejected the US ceasefire plan for Gaza link

    + The Rafah operation has been postponed, but not canceled according to Netanyahoo: No Rafah invasion this week

    So, basically, while everyone looks the other way at the shiny object, Bibi is free to get his genocide on.

  21. Feral Finster

    It has long been abundantly obvious that Ukraine will target Russian oil facilities.

    Russian inability to counter this is simply incompetence.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please listen to Alexander Mercouris, who has visited some oil refineries.

      First, Ukraine has been trying to hit refineries, with little to no effect.

      Second, that is because oil refineries are actually pretty massive and (I assume aside from where they store oil and refined oil) not all that prone to impressive explosions or fires, as in not readily damaged on a large-scale basis. The article confirms that, saying Ukraine has hit 14 major and 2 small plants.

      1. Feral Finster

        All of which is beside the point. They’re big. Yes, well, that also makes them an even more obvious target. How is that going to stop Ukraine?

        Expect more attacks, unless and until Russia decides to stop dithering.

  22. Feral Finster


    They’re not wrong”

    As usual, Trump is trying to have it both ways. his fans and enemies each will insist that their preferred version is The Real Trump and that any inconsistent statements are just a headfake.

    Fact is, there is no Real Trump.

    1. Bsn

      There is a “real” Kennedy. As you can see I’m not shy about bringing up Kennedy, our least offensive candidate. But I laugh because so many friends say but what if Trump wins….. so we better vote Biden. No one can tell me why they’d vote for Biden, only about how important it is that Trump looses.

        1. ArvidMartensen

          ‘Who wins’ may have already been decided. If you know you are going to win and that voters are superfluous, then it doesn’t matter if your candidate is a senile old man, as long as he is doing what “we” want.

          And here is a letter signed by 20 cybersecurity experts to the Pennsylvania State Senate Committee on Government. On how voting machines can be hacked, why paper ballots hand counted and audited are the only foolproof way of stopping fraud.

  23. Feral Finster

    “How Some of India’s Most Active Citizens Became Quiet, Docile Subjects The Wire”

    Was it not taught from old that in India, you don’t so much cast your vote but rather you vote your caste?

    What Modi has done is use inter-community division to forge a coalition, since, if given a choice between supporting sectarian community interests and supporting democracy, most people will choose community.


  24. Tom Stone

    If you are an American who wants to do something genuinely subversive, teach an adult to read.
    The American Library Association has an Adult literacy program that is excellent, contact your local Library for details.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          How can you read between the lines if you can’t read the lines to begin with?

    1. Feral Finster

      as do I, although I find it most instructive that the NYT decides to focus on the one person injured in the Iranian retaliation, and not on the untold thousands killed and maimed by Israel.

      1. Alice X

        As Finkelstein puts it, the NYT is the official US news agency for the Zionist Entity. I generally read them so as to gauge what is not true.

    2. Hickory

      I also suspect quite a few Israeli soldiers are in intensive care right now, but ignoring them and highlighting the civilian girl’s suffering makes a different story in the media.

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